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[scientific name]

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Optimum Soil Temperature
Days to Germination
Days to Harvest
Direct Sow or Transplant
Distance Apart
Soil pH
Annual/Biennial /Perennial 


Allium family

Originally from the Middle East, remnants have been found dating back to 5000BC.  Accounts detailing the cost of feeding pyramid builders onions, garlic and radishes have been found.

As onions spread so did the varieties.  Mediterranean varieties are not long keepers normally as they can be grown all year around.  Northern European varieties keep longer.  Large onions were developed for casseroles and stew whereas smaller faster growing) ones were for pickling.

The distinctive smell is caused by acids beneath the skin.

Liked good free draining soil.  Struggle in wet conditions.  Soil that has previously has  a heavy feeding crop such as brassicas or potatoes is ideal.

Can be either direct sown or transplanted

Space oput 20-25cm apart

Harvest when the tops yellow and fall.

Allow to lie in the sun to harden then store in a cool dry airy spot over winter.

Derived from latin word ‘unio’ meaning large pearl

In ancient Egypt leaders took an oath of office with their right hand on an onion possibly because as onion was seen as a symbol of the universe.

Place a piece of onion under under a gauze pad or plaster overnight to draw out a splinter

Cultivated since 3500BC

General Ulysses S Grant would not move his army without a good supply of onions.



Storing harvested [name]:Seed Saving:



Fun Facts


Downy Mildew – Grey or purple spots on leaves. Leaves appear pitted. Usually occurs in wet weather. Improve air circulation and drainage.

Heavy top growth/Leaf droop – Too much Nitrogen or manure.

Soft Bulbs – Excess Nitrogen

Onions do not store well – Excessive moisture. Plant long keeping varieties such as Pukekohe Long Keeper. Ensure plants are dried before storage.

Thick necks in mature onions – excess Nitrogen. Planted too deep. Transplanted too late. Dry soil early in growth period. Plant out before seedling exceeds 6mm in width.

Botrytis, grey mould – soft roots with grey or brown mould – more common in storage) Store in dry well ventilated conditions.

Bulbs split at base – heavy rain or watering after a prolonged dry spell. Water frequently in dry weather.

Bolting/Running to seed – seed sown at the wrong time. Sow correct variety at the correct time.


Thrips – blotched silver, grey or white. Leaves may deform in severe cases. More common in dry weather. Keep garden weeded. Keep plants well watered

Companion Planting

Beets, Cabbages, Carrots, Leeks, Lettuce, Marjoram, Parsley, Parsnip, Roses, Silverbeet, Strawberries, Tomatoes

NEVER Beans, Broad Beans, Bush Beans, Climbing Beans,